We have blogged about being careful what you Tweet, Blog and Post. It appears that we left off a low tech method to get you in as much, if not more trouble. The Texas Roadhouse chain of restaurants had in 2011 396 locations and 40,000 employees and is subject to an EEOC suit filed in 2011 over age discrimination. Case 1:11-cv-11732-DJC
At the corporate level, “The Recipe for legendary service is this: Hire Young,” stated EEOC attorney Smolik. On an individual level it was very brazen. For example, one older job applicant was told by a Texas Roadhouse employee that the company preferred to hire “slim young blondes”. Many of these issues come down to “he said she said”. So normally the EEOC will not pursue an age basis suit on this alone.
This is a big entity; certainly given this day and age Post-It Notes would not be a common issue. Kudos to the thorough documentation of Texas Roadhouse, as it made as easy case for the EEOC. Part of the evidence the EEOC presented were job applications from 38 restaurants in 20 states on which company officials attached yellow Post-it® notes with comments such as “48 years old, looks 38,” “Older,” “Old chick,” “Older guy, seems nice,” “A little old, but says she can hang,” “Older, doesn’t fit the Texas Roadhouse culture,” “OLD,” “Super old, nice guy,” “Middle age, doesn’t really fit our image,” and “Mature... loves to dance.”
Also included as part of the evidence were statistics showing that, of the almost 200,000 people Texas Roadhouse hired over the years for front-of-the-house jobs, fewer than 3,000 employees were over age 40. This was a disparity so great the government’s expert witness estimated the odds of it happening absent discrimination at one in 781 billion.
The January 2017 trial resulted in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision.
Most businesses would never have such practices, but just being accused of employment discrimination can be costly to defend. Normally an business owners policy and/or a malpractice policy with provide little or no coverage for defense, and also for an indemnity payment if needed. To be properly covered the firm needs to have an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy.